Short, Fat, and Stylish: A Fashion Guide for Plus-Size Petite Women

Updated on March 8, 2018
Petite and Plus: Fashion to Compliment Your Shape
Petite and Plus: Fashion to Compliment Your Shape

Petite-Plus: The Overlooked Size

There seems to be a belief that "petite" is synonymous with "elfin," that petite women are tiny, graceful creatures who float delicately on a sea of petals and have waists the size of an average woman's neck. Not true. While some such women do exist, there are just as many (if not more) who are petite-plus: at least average in width and less-than-average in height.

While the media is delighted to fuss over the existence of so-called plus-size models, the plight of the short is totally ignored. Worried you don't get to see models who are a normal size? Forget about width, that's bad enough. Let me tell you about height.

A "short" model is 5' 9". Honestly. That's at least 8 inches taller than a petite-sized woman, and those extra inches alter the way any outfit looks, not a little but completely. Have you ever tried on a wedding dress and found yourself standing on a small dais which allows the dress, which is too long, to fall to the floor? I bet you looked great, but of course that's not how you would look if you wore that dress on your wedding day because the ratio of width to height would be completely different with two feet on the floor.

What our culture perceives as elegant is a silhouette where the height is several times the width. Take a look at any fashion illustration you've ever seen. Take a look at a Barbie doll, where the length of the leg is way above normal in comparison to the other measurements. To achieve that elegant ratio of width to height, short women need to use every visual illusion they can.

Petite Plus Size: Monochrome Color Schemes Work for You
Petite Plus Size: Monochrome Color Schemes Work for You

Monochromatic Colors and Vertical Lines

The longer the single blocks of color are, the taller you will appear. A blouse and pants for example will make you look short unless...

1. The blouse is the same color as the pants, and

2. There is no obvious horizontal line between them.

The ideal outfit for the plus-size petite woman is mostly one color, with a contrast at the narrowest point (usually the neck). The contrasting splash of color at the neck will allow the eye to follow a long, unbroken monochromatic line from feet to neck. This means that maxi skirts and dresses have the potential to make you look slimmer than conventional skirts will. Jackets can provide a great contrast and look good over matching blouse and pants (especially when left open to show the blouse which becomes, visually, a narrow strip of lighter colored fabric) but if they don't match the pants, the lower edge will form a horizontal line, breaking the line and spoiling the illusion of height.

One solution is to wear pants, top, and jacket all to match, or use cleverly-shaped jackets like waterfall jackets which hang in soft folds without one solid horizontal border.

Petite Plus Size: Flattering Vertical Lines
Petite Plus Size: Flattering Vertical Lines

Dresses for Plus-Size Petites

When it comes to evening wear, the shorter woman can shine in a full-length gown, but even here the illusion can be improved by the use of the right neckline. A V neck creates an illusion of length and can be very flattering, whereas a square neck emphasizes width and is unlikely to look as good. A high neck can allow a longer visual line, as well, although a little skin at the neckline always looks good, too.

When choosing a dress, remember that solid colors and vertical lines will work with your shape. If you've got the legs for it, don't be afraid of a slit at the side of the dress (which offers a vertical line of skin, after all).

Plus-Size Petite Sleepwear

Nightgowns, pajamas, and robes are just as important—there is no better way to end the day than in a beautiful, sensual silk nightgown that fits, but finding one is often difficult for small women who know that "full length" is a relative term. The best solution is to either use a made-to-measure service (shop at a store that will pre-tailor items to fit you) or alter the item yourself. If you choose the latter, remember that designs with a lace edge are easy to tailor; by simply cutting off the lace, you'll be able to reduce the nightgown to the right length. "Short" nightgowns tend to fall to the knee on petite women, so it is important to look carefully at the design. If its primary purpose is to show off your legs, forget it and go for something designed to show off your face or shoulders instead.

Although short, plus-size women are not generally used as models in any part of the fashion industry, this doesn't mean they can't look good. Simply by paying attention to the creation of the right visual illusion, you can look just as good as anyone else, however tall you are.

Customizing Plus-Size Clothing for Petites

Questions & Answers

  • Where can I shop?? What stores carry petite stout women’s clothing?

    Before diving in to which stores to visit, make sure you take some measurements. You may be short and fat, but are you equally proportioned? I know I'm not - my torso is normal length, but my legs are not, so stores who sell petite length tops are no use to me, but I do need petite size in skirts and slacks. However, I am 5ft (1.5m) tall and I have to say I have not yet found anywhere where petite size is short enough.

    First and foremost I shop for clothes online because websites give you more information about clothes. I have measured myself and know what length of top I like - around 31 inches. I go through catalogues and websites and I'm ruthless - you have to be - if it's not the right length, I ignore it unless it is really fabulous, in which case I look carefully to see if I could shorten it myself.

    Whether you can find petite plus size clothes depends on how 'plus size' you are. There are many ranges which will go up to a size 3x, (Lands end, for example, do plus size petite to a size 3x) but beyond that, no. For some reason if you are any larger you are assumed to be an amazon of at least 5' 9". JCPenney, for example, have a plus size petite range, but I could find precious little online above a size 24. Internet searches aren't really useful either, as they often seem hopeful when a brand has a petite range and a plus range, but so often there is no overlap at all.

    Lately Ive bought quite a few things from, but these were mostly tea shirts from the Daily Ritual brand which I find is great for weekends or under a jacket. I've also bought quite a lot from Torrid. Their listings are very informative and since I know what length I like Ive been able to find some tops in their general range. They don't have many items marked petite but I did find some, though in my case ALL the dresses - and some of them are lovely - were too long, even in the shorter length, but I liked them so I'm taking them up. Some websites will make to your measurements - my most business like clothing at the moment comes from, which I can recommend. My underwear mostly comes from Torrid and the rest from all over the place. Old Navy sell slacks and jeans up to size 30 in short, medium and long. I know there are several plus size stores that will sell pants to any length you require, I'll try and update this answer when I find their names, sites like will create made to measure business suits for both men and women, and of course there is which so far I haven't tried, but I'm looking forward to it since they make to measure. I'm not sure if that's been any help at all, but I am planning to update the article soon, or maybe write another, so if you have found a good experience in plus size petite shopping, please let me know and I can add it to the list.


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      BErin 5 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for posting this. I’m nearly in tears reading it because of the years of frustration feeling like clothes never fit me right. It’s long past time for clothes that are designed for real women.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 7 weeks ago from New Hampshire

      I couldn't agree more. Why do they seem to think all us plus size ladies are tall? Are you short everywhere? I know I'm not, my torso is pretty normal length, but my legs are really short and that makes everything a challenge. Ive even had garments made to measure that didn't get it. I'm about to try another made to measure service, I'll update the article if it turns out to be useful.

    • Cynthia Hoover profile image

      Cynthia Hoover 2 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

      Very infomative read! I have always struggled to find a good fit in the clothing I like! I am barely above 5 feet tall and plus sized. It makes shopping for clothing a pain! There is a mindset that plus size means tall, I have yet to find a pair of jeans with a good fit for length. If something fits my mid section its miles too long. Knee length skirts on me are closer to either mid calf or close to full length. Capris? Forget it i may as well just cut off those jeans that are too long and hem my own for capris. Shopping should be fun right? Hopefully in my lifetime a clothing line comes out that offers a bigger range of plus sizes!

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      Ron 9 months ago

      Short heavyset ladies can look great in stylish clothing. I am a guy who always gravitated toward short heavyset females of the human species, especially in my younger days (I'm over 60 now). Back then, I was very tall (slightly over 6 ft.) and very skinny (slightly under 130 lbs.). One short heavyset lady in particular, who became my girlfriend, got a real kick out of physically overpowering her tall skinny boyfriend who towered over her by more than a foot (she stood 4-foot-11) while she outweighed him by more than fifty pounds (she weighed 190 pounds). It didn't take long for us to find out that her strength far exceeded mine!!! She easily outlifted me in weightlifting (in the clean and jerk); she easily downed me, and then she just as easily pinned me into submission, in wrestling; and last (but certainly not least), she easily beat me at arm wrestling. Her superior strength over mine was part of our physical attraction toward each other!!!

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      Kathy Hargrove 9 months ago

      I use to be a 7/8 and dressed in really bold colors and loved cute flirty dresses. Now due to getting very ill and given 2 courses of steroids I am now a size 16. At 5' with wide hips I am 61yr old. I need to find something for my nieces wedding. I am finding myself very picky and cannot find anything because I know I need a full skirt and I do not have the prettiest of legs so if going with a dress I would like to stick to mid calf or midi. If I have to go with pants and blous I have to go with a longer top to cover my hips to feel comfortable with my looks due to my hips. Suggestion?

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      Ann Hyde 13 months ago

      what style pant leg is most becoming to the short "curvy" person?




      very tapered like tights?

      wide leg

      silky wide flowing?

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      jenifer 14 months ago

      Why do people assume petite means tiny people? I'm not even 5ft tall with a 38 DDD size bra and size 10 jeans. My upper arms are like 43 inches. (Way to big) Its so frustrating how short curvy people get left behind in the clothing world.

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      Christi 14 months ago

      I would love a post or even a site about dressing for various occasions--for the short and heavy, which I am. My main issue now, and how I found this article, is that I need to spiff it up for work, be more professional not just at trade shows and the like but on the day-to-day level. I haven't worn dresses since I was much younger (and smaller, size-wise; premenopausal), but now if I as an older woman want to keep my job I have to look more put together. A tall order, so to speak! Any and all advice welcome. I'm thinking about investing in Eileen Fisher clothes, even though they're expensive. Thank you again for this article!

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      Jenifino 15 months ago


      Petite is ANY woman 5'4" or under! Why are you on here anyway? Are you a short cross dressing man? If so..welcome and f you are 5'4" or shorter, you would be petite even if you are a plus sized man in womens clothing.

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      Louise Hayes 16 months ago

      I'm 4'10" and weigh 220# - way short and way overweight. The only thing I can find is womens plus and they really don't fit well. Has anyone ever thought of having an online class in the ways petites plus can dress and/or find the right clothes?

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      Sarah 16 months ago

      So if I listen to the naysayers in the comments about what defines a petite women meaning only small and slim women, then small and overweight women have no term to help them buy and categorize clothes at all? The result of what they are saying is that we have no place in the world or that there is nothing for us or that we should remain invisible. Ben, Dave, Maria, Hannah: what the heck!?

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      Sarah 16 months ago

      Why is it that men are the ones telling us women (Ben and Dave...Screw you both you idiots!) what the fashion definition of petite is. We women are the ones who shop for clothes for women, not Ben and Dave (unless you guys DO shop for women's clothes?) If B & D were right about petite not including women who are both short and above desired weight, then this article would still completely apply because the point is that we short ladies cannot easily find clothes for us! I have to shop in juniors half the time (B&D, the definition of "Juniors" means for teenagers, in case you didn't know another fashion definition). My 14 y.o. daughter shops in the same section as me because we are the same size. For some bizarre reason, the clothing industry assumes that "adults" are average height or taller. They have a complete store at most malls for women who are big and tall but no store for women who are big and short, except the plus size section for teens! Also, Ben from 6 years ago, I hope you have stopped trolling women's fashion articles these past years, but if you've not learned any lessons, we can do anything and everything to make "fat" girls feel good. People have the right to feel good. You are a grade A "A-hole".

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      Melanie 16 months ago

      I need help to find plus size girl clothes for 9 year old. She can wear a woman's size 10 but thone styles are too long and too old for a 9 year old. I need fun youthful clothing for her.

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      Shortie 16 months ago

      The definition of petite according to the Mercian-Webster dictionary: "a clothing size for short women." - which could include "plus size."

      Definitions are different across the board. Why would someone have something against "plus-sized" women being referred to as "petite?" And no, I'm not "plus-sized." But short plus-sized women are beautiful people too. And if being called "petite" makes them feel better, then so be it.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Glad you liked the article and I can so relate to your problem! Like you, I have to wear one size larger to accommodate large upper arms and since fit is crucial to the way we look, it is a big problem. You are quite right, most of us ladies, whether fat or thin, tall or small, are our own worst enemy. We are all worthy of love, but somedays it is more difficult to believe that than others! I'm so glad you've made headway with your demons, and if you ever solve the mystery of where large breasted women can find good bras, please come back and post the information so we can all share!

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Actually, it rather depends on the stripes and the person because not all plus sized petites are the same!

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Hi AngeLuvsU, sorry this reply is late, I don't seem to be getting notifications when people leave a comment! I'm working on some articles about coping with different proportions, yes, us plus size petites are all short, but not necessarily in the same way. Compared to me, 4'11 inches, you're a giant at five feet two, but I can relate to your problems; the great thing about humanity is that we are all different, but many ladies I talk to say the same, when they find something that fits it can make them look a little too 'professional'! Without knowing more about your precise problem it is difficult to advise, was the length or the neckline the major problem?

      I've bought wrap dresses, had the hem taken up (at the local dry cleaners) and worn them with pants to dressy events, a great deal depends on the fabric. If it's plain it's easy to dress up with jewelry. Many shorter ladies find they look far better in full length dresses than short, if you go to town on the earrings they will take the focus away from your figure to your face, where it should be.

      I hope this is some help, but watch this space for more hubs coming soon on the joys of being plus sized and petite.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 17 months ago from New Hampshire

      Delighted to hear it. When last did you tell her?

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      eFar 17 months ago

      Ben and Dave, please post pictures of yourselves, because unless you're either a) Brad Pitt, b) George Clooney, c) Bradley Cooper or d) a greek god, you have no right to comment, let alone put any woman down.

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      Jeanne 18 months ago


      Your an idiot

      I am short (5') & wear petite sizes 14& 16 because they fit me better. Just because you are a larger size does not make you all of a sudden become taller or longer arms or wider shoulders etc.

      Don't be rediculous!!!

    • profile image

      Arun 18 months ago

      I love my petit and full size wife. Clothes don't matter

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      AngeLuvsU 19 months ago

      Wow this article was posted sometime ago but still really gave me alot of info. Im built like a Trex 40 H chest ridiculously short arms 26 inch inseam size 14 ... 5'2 no hip no butt. Truly a nightmare when shopping for dresses. My legs and chest look nice in dresses but i cant figure style. Last dress i bought was a wrap. Above knee. Very sexy, to much so for what i need for a benifit dinner. I want the focus not on my chest. My problem is i either look short squaddie and boxy if it's not form-fitted and if its form fitted to accentuate my assets I look like I'm ready to get paid for a date. Any ideas ladies?

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      Kim 19 months ago

      Loved the article! I agree and disagree..since becoming overweight after my first child I color blocked everything.. stick with dark colors mostly black..try to hide myself... I'm 4'11.. started out as a 5..ballooned up to a 26..back down to a 14-16..large chested, small waist (size 10) so small for my size..and very large hips, thighs and butt..I'm gravity has not been kind.. I'm just now wearing empire waist line dresses that flow and hide but flattering to my chest and waistline. I bought my first pair of skinny jeans wear with black dress heels and a plum sequined collar v neck top. I have learned and come to hate shopping! Bras suck for large chested short women that need major support.. just short of a boob job! My paints I bought the waist is big but fits everything down but length they are about 4 inches too long. I hat buying jeans for 100.00 that I then have to take to the seamstress to have altered to fit me.. tops are the same arm holes...I have large upper arms..have to buy a larger size to fit..and bust..then the arms are to long and hit my knees..length all around are problems. If you buy your size in petite if you can find's to narrow..itsts as if it says 16p but fits a 12-14. It took me many many many yrs to learn to love myself.. and I have still a daily battle with the mirror. I'm a middle age woman, I'm mixed with several ethnic backgrounds Filipino, Spanish, Native American, Italian..I have great skin coloring..and gave recently learned colors are my friends! I am petite... I am plus...and drinking more over I am a person. I woukd like to be bold and say I dress only for me now but that would be a lie. I worry about how others see me. So I would never wear a mini skirt cause it made me feel good and in up on people of walmart.. I dress stylish for my age..edgy at times and yes usually showing my best I only wish these so called plus size models would be petite plus..somewhere.. as for the gentlemen way up top.. that was 6 yrs ago I'm sure life has been as kind to them as their statements. Just because I petite plus, fat, short and fabulous does not make me unworthy of love, kindness and courtesy. You do not know the struggles of others..I have my own demons I fight daily as many of us do, I do not need help of others for low self esteem.. I see it every morning while getting ready for work. Then I remember my montra.. Perfection, is my definition and fabulous is what I one can ever make me feel worse than I can make myself..yes they can hit that nerve or be that trigger but your allowance to eat at you is what wins.. not the ladies..short, fat, tall and thin our we all have our struggles...and thank you for your article!

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      Stacy 19 months ago


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      Lesley Charalambides 20 months ago from New Hampshire

      You are not the only person to have asked that question!

      I completely agree with you cut and fit matter, it doesn't matter what size the garment says it is, if it doesn't fit, it's not your size and you really don't want to wear it. I am constantly grateful for the existence of petite sizes, but one thing I've learned from the comments here is that we are not all petite in the same way; I for example am just less than five feet tall, even petite slacks are a little large (sometimes I wear standard capris and they are full length) while tops are just about right for me. My torso must be normal length, my legs are certainly not! That's the wonderful, glorious thing about the human race, we're all the same, but we're also all different! Thanks for commenting.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 20 months ago from New Hampshire

      I wish I could give you an instant solution, but there isn't one and I sympathise because although my measurements are much larger than yours, I have a similar problem, necks are often much too low for me.

      There are only two good solutions, one is don't buy items with low necks! Pick a nice, simple boat neck, for example, or a short 'V'.

      The only other thing you can do is buy a sewing machine and learn to use it. Making your own clothes can actually be simpler than trying to alter clothes you have bought. Find a pattern you like and adapt it, you'll find lessons on youtube on how to alter a pattern and start with ultra simple patterns. I started with patterns called Very Easy Vogue, usually the number of pattern pieces is a guide to how complex the pattern is. Once you've had some practice, you'll find single patterns that produce a whole wardrobe, most are marked with lines where you make the necessary adjustments.

      Other than that, I find our local dry cleaner does some alterations at reasonable cost.

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      Rachel 20 months ago

      Ben and Dave must have really small penises! What idiots! I myself am 5'1 and not your typical size zero for our height. I'm a size 10...So I often have the struggle of not being able to find things that fit right. I'm not fat, I rather I have bigger butt and boobs. Doesn't make me not petite like the men are trying to say in this feed. Again, small penis syndrome will get to guys heads. Sad. Thank you for the article!

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      Laur 21 months ago

      Ok, For the record- yes, petite (in clothing terms) does mean short. Specifically under 5' 4". Petite clothing also compensates for shorter sleeve lengths, shoulder width, pant length, shirt rise, etc...essentially the natural framework of us shorties, no matter our size. In the US, sizes in petite clothing generally extend to size 18.

      It can be difficult finding descent fitting clothing no matter your body type. Not all designers have the same cut or sizing standards. Experiment. I am 5'1 and anywhere between a size 12 and 16. For instance, I recently bought a black pair of slacks at Macy's in a size 14 short, and had to return them for a 16 petite because the waist cut was too high, and too wide with the regular size (even tho a size smaller than petite).

      It's all in the cut for me, same with tops. I have both regular and petite sizes in my closet but fit is key. I go with classic lines and clothing that isn't too busy. Find staple pieces and brands that really work for you. Eg: a good maxi skirt, ankle length slimming pants, a good blazer, and blouses that hang at the natural waistline. I'll-fitted clothing- overly baggy or too tight a fit makes one look larger.

      The way I see it, even tho it can be a challenge to weed out the perfect fit, we have more departments to potentially choose from (petite, regular, and plus). If you find a brand and style that fits well- keep going back for more. More options ladies!:)

      And don't let the haters on this site, or others run you down....MY question is: What are they doing on a petite-plus women's website in the first place? Hmmmmm..... Lol.

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      Kitty Kat 22 months ago

      I LOVE that I stumbled across this page. Thanks for the helpful tips and keep being fabulous ladies!! Me and a few gal pals are surprising a friend of ours with a make over. She's "Petite" (That's for ben) and a true KNOCK-OUT! We are going to have so much fun! Thanks to her husband Chuck, for being so supportive & handing over his credit card LOL (She's a retro/rockabilly kind of girl)

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      Sheri 23 months ago

      I am 5" 160# and 34-DDD, I kinda have waist only cause my hips are large very short between bustline and shoulders. I always have to majorly shorten any tank tops I buy or the front is past my breasts. I need help on finding clothes to wear. I don't have the money to shop expensive or go to a tailor. Anyone have suggestions?

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 2 years ago from New Hampshire

      I tend to agree. It is one thing to know what to wear, it's quite another to be able to find it, and that's not just down to size. As a red head I like to wear warm colors or autumn tones, these aren't easy to find in spring or summer wardrobe items. Why do fashion experts think that those of us who suit, chocolate, bronze or deep orange only want to wear these colors in the autumn? I want to wear them all year round because they look good on me. Personally I think fashion experts have it all the wrong way round. They think it's the clothes that matter, when really it's the people who wear them.

      Thanks for your comment, if you find some clothes that are more to your liking, please post the details here so we can all shop there!

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      Ann Benoit 2 years ago

      Fashion wise I didn't pick up any new tips that I hadn't already figured out but many of the tips are unusable in today's market because of the manufacturers. For example go to Talbot's Women's Petites - every striped sweater is horizontal stripes. I formerly wore almost exclusively Talbots when they knew how to make vertical stripes. Ellen Liz Taylor used to make vertical stripped sweaters and shirts before it was bought out. I used to love wearing for example monochromatic linen pants and blazers with matching monochromatic silk shirts IN beautiful COLORS [not just black and white] but it is just not being made in any size. Fashion has really gone downhill.

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      Cyn 2 years ago

      Wow Love Kats comment

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      Liz 2 years ago

      Thank you for this article. Very, very helpful. I am so happy to have found it!

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      teri 2 years ago

      I wish they was a boutique for short curvy girls. I have very large bust broad shoulders. Petites are too short and regular lengths way to large. I often buy misses tops and junior pants to fit better. But often the tops are too wide around the waist. The struggle is real.

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      Suze 2 years ago

      I think this is probably the most useful article on the internet for short ladies, plus size or not - it's nice to know how to walk a little taller without having to wear heels.

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      Kat 2 years ago

      This article was great until I got to the comment section. For any men like Ben on this website (you weirdos), "petite" when shopping for clothes means "short". If you don't like it, go be a fashion designer and change the word. Otherwise, if you are specifically into "petite-as-in-child-sized" women and are somehow offended by this article, you're gonna have to admit to yourself that maybe you're not into women, you're actually into children.

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      Tammy 2 years ago

      I have worked retail for 20 + plus years and clothing is labeled petite bc it's short plus size girls know we are not petite women. We just know that's what the industry uses to describe clothing that is short. This article is to try to help us find clothing that may work for our body type. We know our size and don't need you defining it! If your not here to help why be here at all?

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      peanutsnona 3 years ago

      I am 5'2" and gained a large amount of weight 4 yrs ago-quite rapidly-while eating an excellent diet and exercising regularly. I was 40 years old, and went from 112 lbs. to 135 lbs. in 2 1/2 weeks. Turned out to be a result of perimenopause. I was shocked to find out that no matter how much I exercised the weight wouldn't drop..soo... was faced with completely different figure! I was very large busted before and its worse now. I really appreciate sites that address this particular subject. Don't forget-many decent, wonderful, loving men find a little more "padding" to be attractive!( My own husband definitely likes me any-sized.)

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      medavinci 3 years ago

      Ben and others: Petite is can be petite and thin or petite and heavier. You need to truly educate yourself before commenting!

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      Judy 3 years ago

      I love the comment about these hateful males who want "the best" "the most beautiful" etc. Those guys who are so hateful to overweight women who, if they were thin,wouldn't have the time of day for them

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 3 years ago from Upstate, NY

      Men don't get it. They've never had to learn the difference between Misses, Ladies, Women, Petite, etc.

      I used to be able to shot at Fashion Bug and fit everything pretty well. Lane Bryant just isn't the same. That place is built for tall girls. I can't fit anything there.

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      Guest SYLVIA 3 years ago

      Stop it....this is about clothing!!!! Not a bash session for a body type. We are all made different. I am a very attractive woman on the plus size, I am 5ft and I wear classic beautiful clothes which bring in compliments all the time. Choose colors that compliment you, loose tailoring, and classy lines, THERE YOU GO! Add an accessory, scarf chain, pin...lip closs and VOILA. You nasty people out there who choose to be afraid of curves.....Some of you, no matter what you wear...thre CLASS IS MISSING.

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      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      Short fat and stylish is a cute, eye catching title.

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      Dawn 3 years ago

      I'm in the plus-size petite range of clothing and it is very hard to find things that fit well.

      For about five years now, I've been buying the majority of my clothing online from Talbots as they carry plus-petite even though my local Talbots store doesn't.

      Talbots carries everything in plus-petite: jeans, pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, blouses, sweaters, even t-shirts and some outerwear during the fall/winter. They can be rather pricey, especially the winter coats, but there are often sales.

      Almost nothing feels better than having a winter coat that fits every place. No more sleeves covering my fingers, no more back-belts hanging under my butt like a sling when it should be at the back of the waist.

      Occasionally QVC clothing will be offered in a petite version that goes from XS-3X.

      Also, Woman Within, an online plus-size clothing store, offers petite-plus in some of their dresses, tops, bottoms, and even sleepwear. And at a reasonable price, too.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 3 years ago from New Hampshire

      Amy, I have to agree with you. This hub has been edited and Hubpages added their own explanatory graphics. Like you, I actually don't like them at all, but it was not under my control, sorry.

    • Amy Livingston profile image

      Amy Livingston 3 years ago from Highland Park, NJ

      What's up with that picture labeled "vertical lines fool the eye"? These color-blocked outfits are not flattering at all! The vertical blocks make the women's shapes look chunky, not long and lean. Change all these outfits to a single, solid color, and they instantly become more flattering.

    • profile image

      Anon1 3 years ago

      Virgie, it is sad that you think with a closed mind. I do not agree with Ben's statements at all. Please do not classify me in any category, as I do not do the same to you nor anyone else. This is still a good site for information for all, but for me, as of this posting I will be deleting it from my computer. I will not be chastised by anyone, haters or not. That is my freedom! Have a blessed day to all.

    • profile image

      virgie 3 years ago

      hey there, i think Ben and the other guy are sissies, mocking us short and fat ladies....who are they by the way? go on girls....I'm 4"10 and 158 lbs but happy with what i am. my only concern is dressing for the right occasion...please feature more dresses of my size...thanks..

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this article. Please ignore the bullies. Eileen Fisher makes clothing for us, if you can find a store that carries it. Here in San Francisco, Nordstrom's, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue carry her line in plus sizes and petite plus sizes. Not a lot of choices, but some, mostly separates. Like @Bat, I would love to find pretty dresses for petite plus-sizes.

    • profile image

      Anon1 4 years ago

      Hello to all. I too suffer the lack of height and slight bit of weight. OK....I'm short 5'3" and 195lbs. Being a man.....please forgive me, even men's clothing for my weight size are made for 6' or taller. My height size clothing is made for supermodels like toothpicks. So I often turn to women's catalogs for jeans and shirts which happen to be closer to my actual true size. Now I can see quite a few rolling their eyes, but I don't care. Women of "Petite Plus" size (to which I do consider myself) have more clothing choices than men. I am married, but my wife does not like the idea of men even thinking of wearing any type of women's clothing. So I do what I can out of love for my wife. But shopping for clothes men's for myself requires a lot of altering just to fit properly. This is just simply crazy. Sorry to ramble, but I like this site and just wanted to let those out there that are petite plus, don't listen to the haters, keep on going in life. I know exactly how you feel. I too get the hate comments from the male side of the population. Best of wishes to all. ;)

    • caramella-fashion profile image

      Caramella Fashion 4 years ago from Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

      Great article!

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      I'm afraid my Russian is a bit rusty, but if Google translate is to be believed, this is a recipe for a henna rinse. Nice thought, but not sure why it's here?

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Just as for Lu's sizes, petites need clothes designed for their proportions and those aren't easy to find. Thanks for your comment.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Lovely article. It never ceases to amaze me which articles bring out the arguments. I never would have suspected to find one here. I have so much trouble in petite departments. I often shop for my daughter who is barely 5' tall. I hold up pants in front of myself and see the hems graze the top of my foot. I am 5'8". How can these clothes be called petite? It can be very hard to find the right size.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Hi Short round. Thanks for adding your comment to this hub. Let me tell you, you are not alone.Sounds like we are the same height. I too have struggled with my weight for decades and I know exactly what you mean. Most people, however, don't and think we just need more self control. They don't know how lucky they are.

      I'm not sure I can advise you on trendy clothes. I have developed my own style which makes me feel good, and that is what I stick to. Personally, I think fashion in irrelevant, if you find something that makes you look and feel good, wear it. But what, in your case, would that be? It sounds as thought your figure is similar to mine, and we wear similar things. Around the house I can often be found in leggings. These don't look fantastic, but they are very comfortable, and since I have a leg that doesn't work well, they give it some support. Over the leggings I like to wear a bright colorful top, usually a tunic. I scour Romans and the like for anything described as a tunic which is at least 31 inches long, as I know that covers what I want covered. You won't find many, but there are some. When I want to look smart I wear clothes that have been made for me. Sounds tremendously good, doesn't it? It's not as expensive as you think. I buy from Astarte Woman and from Peggy Lutz. I usually wear a top, bottom and waterfall/cascade jacket all in the same color as that makes me look taller, and I add a bright, expenisve scarf at the neck.

      For nigthtime. my own company make made to measure nightwear, and for evening, again I go to Peggy Lutz or Astarte. A completely plain, long dress in a slinky fabric is ideal for a formal event and ideal for travelling, and in a plain color you can add your own personality with scarves, jewelry and such. For outerwear I tend to stick to wraps. There are some great ones to be had at fabulous furs, I also have several in alpaca which are fabulous, but I'm sorry forgotten the name of the website.

      Take a hard look at your figure. I assumed I was generally short, but found that my torso is actually average, its just my legs that are really short. Once you know your proportions you can play with shape and color as described in the hub. Above all, spend a little more for clothes that fit, look in the mirror and smile. Are you doing all you can to be the way you want to be? If so, get out there. People who matter don't mind. People who mind, don't matter.

    • profile image

      short round 5 years ago

      Yes, my name says it all..Do I chose to be 4 ft 10, with a rather large top, and wide hips & big bottom, no, I dont. It is very frustrating when I go shopping and go into the "PLUS SIZE" department, and 1. All of the pants are way too long because they assume only tall women are supposed to be large or 2. The clothes are not stylish at all, and just screams "hey look at me, im short & fat, and the clothes suck", which reverts me to having to wear mainly leggings all the time, and try to offset it with a decent looking shirt. And because of my height/weight issue, I no longer want to wear dresses because of how they make me look. And yes, i have tried to lose the weight every way I can, and it has even gotten to the point where I am seriously considering the lap band surgery. Its already an issue when you are short, but when your short AND fat like me, it becomes a real hurtful issue. Yes some people are fortunate to have the weight just fall off of them, I on the other hand have struggled with this for the last 20 years, and its very frustrating for those tall, thin supermodel chicks or those dudes that have a 6 pack right now. Remember, you are not going to be drop dead gorgeous forever, despite what you may think..but anyway..not that I got that out my system, can another short, heavy lady please give me some advice as to where I can find some decent, nice trendy clothes that can make me feel ok about myself..thank you all & have a great day!!

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thanks. A a short fat woman myself, this was a hub which came from the heart.

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 5 years ago from Oregon

      This is a great hub for those that fit the description. Voted up so more people see it as this hub has many good ideas and helpful.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Don't give up. Even the mass market catalogues are selling petite plus these days, and if that fails, made to measure for a couple of crucial pieces if a good way to go for anyone, regardless of size.

    • Joanamai3 profile image

      Joanamai3 5 years ago

      Hi, it really helps me a lot for this information coz im having difficulties finding clothes for myself coz im only 5'2 and im fat girl, and whatever clothes i wear i feel like im getting smaller and im already losing my confidence wearing fashionable clothes well actually i dont buy one at all coz i feel stupid when wearing it coz im too small i meant i have a short legs and im fat..but hopefully i can build up again my confidence :) thanks for this wonderful article,looking forward to do what it says above :)

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      I agree, the UK starts plus size a little early, but at least there are a few shops where you can buy plus size clothes. I remember when it was Evans, Evans or, of course, Evans.

      Is it possible for size 18 plus to look good? Yes! Of course it is as long as the fit is good and you wear a flattering color. What's depressing is that the quality of a lot of plus size clothes is very poor, fit is quite often terrible, there's very little choice for plus size petites (it's a fashion industry term, anyone who doesn't like the word petite being used that way should apply to clothes manufacturers, not me) AND there are a lot of black clothes out there. I love black, it's a great color, but not all the time! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thanks. Ive been plus size petite for as long as I can remember, and this was a hub which came from the heart.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 5 years ago from New Hampshire

      Have you thought about having some key pieces of clothing made to measure? It isn't always as expensive as it sounds. My Mum had the same problem as you do, and that was how she solved it. Fit really is more important than anything else, and a small wardrobe that fits well, is much better than lots of clothes that don't.

    • profile image

      Hannah 5 years ago

      Joellen, Ben, Petite means SHORT. You can be petite [short] and squat. Ben is so wrong for some reason. Petite means small in fashion and French.

    • profile image

      Hannah 5 years ago

      Ben, Petite does not mean short and squat. You cannot be fat and petite. Please stop trying to redefine the word petite to make fat girls feel good about themselves. Joellen, Petite DOES NOT mean short and squat. It's ugly to see a short fat woman calling herself petite. Stop trying to redefine the word petite to make those ugly fat women feel good about themselves.

    • profile image

      fred 6 years ago

      Sandra - have you thought about a boob reduction if its really getting to you? I assume your already in a minimiser bra.

    • profile image

      Sandra 6 years ago

      A DD cup to the breast line and the problem is threefold petite round and big breasted equals life in a sack. I may be a size 12 everywhere but the bust but instantly I become a size 20 long sleeves wide necks. And too long. I m so depressed

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      This blog is fantastic.... thank you for the advise

    • profile image

      Hannah 6 years ago

      Petite means short.

      Clothing petite means slender. I have to agree with Ben on clothing petite.

    • profile image

      ohmy22 6 years ago

      so....back to where to find l/xl petite?. as an belly is large but butt and legs are trim....i like to walk in the summer but suffer from hot flashes. this leads me to look for t-shirts that go over the belly with cap sleeves...but not look pregnant.

      in one case i put an elastic band around bottom of t-shirt and bought (Target) tshirt material bottoms. the bottoms were light and fit well ..with easy pull on.

      many times, i have thought of seeking out a streamstress and market such clothes???

      but in the mean time ...i march thru the web sites to trial and error.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 6 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      Amaryllis -- I LOVE the title of this Hub! Thanks for the good ideas.

    • collegegirl909 profile image

      collegegirl909 6 years ago

      some peole are just rude who care like I'm 5'4 and over weight lol...then i have others tell me your not over weight lol just tone up stomach a bit more hahaha either way iam short lol..

    • profile image

      eaja 6 years ago

      where i live, "petite" is a height measurement for fashion, just as "centimetre" is a length measurement, and "litre" is a volume measurement. you can be petite, and be plus-sized. to those of you in your bubbles, yes, petite and plus-sized DOES happen. petite jeans are not necessarily skinnier fitting than regular, they're usually just shorter. petite as a word on its own does mean smaller, but in fashion it means shorter. (source: i'm a fashion student)

    • profile image

      maria joobluh 6 years ago

      I am a woman and agree with Ben---not the way he put it, mind you, but in essence, I agree. There are 2 issues here. Height and breadth. If you are short, yes you are petite, in that your height is small, however if you are heavy...petite doesn't sit right with me. Conversely I believe you can be tall, so by definition NOT petite in height, however if you have small bones and very little weight then your breadth IS petite. It's a combo thing.

    • plussize-lingerie profile image

      David Taylor 6 years ago from UK

      I know it's old, but blimey that was some crazy comments up there. In the UK, Plus Size is considered to start at size 12. Size 12! That's a US Size 8. It's ridiculous that anyone in that category be considered plus size.

      Of course, I would say that, but we're a plus size company and we don't start until Size 18, which is where we believe it really become plus size.

      And, again I would say this, but I don't care: it's completely possible for Size 18+ to buy and dress in some fabulous clothes and look great. The days when you couldn't are thankfully long gone.

    • profile image

      mary 6 years ago

      I was directed to this site for some ideas on how to dress stylishly for my height which is 4'11" 1/2, weight at the moment 165lbs. The height runs in my family, I like being little. The weight is from medication, depression, stress and working 3 jobs to support my daughter and husband. I only eat breakfeast and the other 2 meals are Boost while traveling between jobs. When I married my husband, I was on 102lbs size 6 at the most. Husband was normal weight, but now, he is no underwear model, himself. He has match me pound for pound and then some. Guys are called big, women are call fat. I didn't choice to be this way, but Dave and Ben you choice to be pigs. It is possible for me and others to change are weight but a pig will always be a pig, no matter how you dress him up. At least we women are are this site for information to help us look our best. Why on earth are you guys on this site and even commenting on such a simple article, again for WOMEN. I appreciate the good information in the article.

    • profile image

      cath 6 years ago

      Thank you ladies for setting Ben straight.I am a mature lady and have had a fun life. I have found that men like Ben love to think they are more than what they are. It is usually because of their (short)comings,if you know what I mean, that they love to put a woman down. Who do they think they are? Wonder what his mother,sister,wife, or GF will think when he gets old,fat or bald? you think they will love him any less/ No. Ben, Grow up jerk!

    • profile image

      dayfar 6 years ago

      I am very frustrated when shopping for clothes. I too am short and round and clothing usually fits my top but not my waist. If I buy clothes from Lane Bryant they are made for tall heavy ladies. Apparantly only tall women can be plus sized.Even the petites are too small. If i am lucky I can find them in 16 and up. Occasionally I find a petite short in pants in an 18 but few and far between. With petite short I don't have to hem them. Also why do they think if you have a thick waist, your thighs are just as big. The pants usually look like tents. Very frustrating!

    • jennielynn35 profile image

      Jennifer Hall 6 years ago from Florida

      Great Article!

    • profile image

      Marion Friedenthal 6 years ago

      Thank you for this article. I have to attend a wedding in a couple of months and as the short and fat step mother of the bride I don't want to embarrass her by looking frumpy.

      Ben and Dave should each get a life because the time could come (if it hasn't already) when they will not be 'hot'and then they will be 100% short on personality to compensate for their lack of physical beauty.

      Double standards for men and women need to end now. Men with potbellies insist that their women must look hot. I say 'to hell with them', there are more than enough men out there who look at inner beauty first and consider outer beauty to be just a bonus.

    • profile image

      Bat 6 years ago

      Can I break into the bigot bashing to ask; where can I find a dress or skirt that will fit a plus waist but petite hieght? I am 5'2 and have been searching for a nice mid-calf-length, summer dress all over the web...forget the department stores...nothing here fits me.

    • profile image

      Joellen 6 years ago


      How about all the plus size girls go hide under a rock while you are out on the town, going to the grocery store, and exercising your virile, masculine body.

      You think everyone should feel bad unless they live up to your standards, but so far, I see that your standards mean being sh it ty to other people until they feel bad so you can feel superior.

      Hope you get a petite, plus size, fat, short ball busting woman as your next boss.

      Have a great day!

    • profile image

      Hotesses Lyon 6 years ago

      Wow! I love this color. Regular sized clothing and plus sizes will result in pant rises hanging halfway to her knees, shoulder seems similarly laying several inches down the arm, jackets and shirts which land mid thigh, arm holes which lay four inches down the underarm side of the garment… Thanks for sharing….

    • tinaweha profile image

      Tina Boomerina 7 years ago from Seattle (and the world)

      Actually, I am petite and fat. You must be my cousin.

    • Louisa Marie profile image

      Louisa Marie 7 years ago from Canadian West Coast

      Great article!

      Although, as a manager of a plus size boutique, I do believe that you can be a bit more easy-going with your rules, such as the pant and top having to match.

      Keep your chin up! Even on a great site like hubpages, people like to stretch their muscles and make negative comments. You ARE petite plus. That is an industry fact. The word "petite" has different uses in different arenas, and we'll use ours the way the clothing industry does, thank you very much!

      Guys: If you don't know the business, keep out of ours please, and be a bit nicer next time.

    • profile image

      Tammy 7 years ago

      I'm very short and very fat. There, we don't have to argue over the term "petite". This article is extremely useful for me, I just wish it'd come with some more photos to illustrate. Thank you, Amaryllis.

    • profile image

      Freyagj 7 years ago

      I am only four ten and about nine stone. Im considered to be "fat" and yet my height deliniates me as "petite".

      Ben and Dave, what would someone larger but short be labled in fashion senses if not a "petit" height?

    • profile image

      sandieR 7 years ago

      Understanding this as an industry standard, petite refers to the shorter length from neck to wrist,neck to shoulder, waist to hip, breastbone to waist, knee to hip, etc. A five foot woman at 92 lbs has pretty much the same dimensions mentioned above even if she gains forty pounds. Only her measurements of circumference will change. Regular sized clothing and plus sizes will result in pant rises hanging halfway to her knees, shoulder seems similarly laying several inches down the arm, jackets and shirts which land mid thigh, arm holes which lay four inches down the underarm side of the garment (really a problem in sleeveless garments; half of the bra shows). The issue here is clothing fit, not how attractive to men the short person is. Do the men who remarked here picture a 23 year old who is stuffing her face with pizza when she should be svelte and sexy for him to ogle? Got a mom, aunt, or grandma or physically challenged female relative who is really beloved and overweight? Do you feel disgusted with them because of the weight? Do you feel the same way about male relatives with the same issues? I've seen enough out of shape men making jokes about over weight women who presumably wouldn't give the men the time of day if those women were thin.

      The topic here was clothing, not the morality of being fat.

    • profile image

      Dave 7 years ago

      Ben, I agree with you 100 percent. If you are 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide, you are NOT petite

    • profile image

      Rebecca 7 years ago

      I actually work for a Plus Size Woman's clothing company in NZ and it occurs on a almost a daily basis.

      People saying "fat girls shouldn't wear this fat girls shouldn't wear that."

      Incredible to think others feel the need to verbally state their stance on such matters. Says A LOT about what's going on inside the critic. Often they are in a bad head space about themselves so feel the need to belittle others.(Excuse the pun)

      Also very easy for someone like Ben to make these comments from behind the safety of a computer monitor.

    • Amaryllis profile image

      Lesley Charalambides 7 years ago from New Hampshire

      Ben, I'm delighted to have support from Rebecca and seamstress1, if you read the first paragraph again, I agree that the classical definition of petite is, essentially, tiny, but in the fashion industry the term now refers to anyone who is short.

      But that's not the important point. Why shouldn't fat girls feel good? Why should you, or anyone else for that matter, get to say when we are allowed to feel good about ourselves? I couldn't disagree with you more.

    • profile image

      seamstress1 7 years ago

      Ben educate yourself on womens clothing, petite is any woman 5'4" and under regardless of weight. It is not a dictionary definition!!

    • profile image

      Ben 7 years ago

      Petite does not mean short and fat. You can not be petite and fat. please stop trying to redefine the word petite to make fat girls feel good. look up the definition of petite.


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